Asiana Airlines Decides Not To Sue Punked TV Station Over Bogus Pilot Names

Asiana Airlines originally threatened to sue KTVU after it broadcast this list of blatantly fake and offensive pilot names.

Asiana Airlines originally threatened to sue KTVU after it broadcast this list of blatantly fake and offensive pilot names.

By now you’ve heard about the on-air gaffe at Oakland’s KTVU-TV, in which a news anchor read a list of obviously fake names of the four pilots on Asiana Flight 214 that crash-landed at SFO on July 6. The South Korean airline recently said it intended to sue the TV station over the incident, but has now decided against taking any legal action.

It’s still unknown exactly who supplied the names — including Captain Sum Ting Wong and Wi Tu Lo — to KTVU, or how in the world these blatantly bogus names made it all the way through the vetting process to actually be read aloud on air (you can see the original clip at the bottom of this post), but the incredibly apologetic TV station says it did confirm the names with the National Transportation Safety Board (though it turned out to be a since-dismissed intern at the NTSB).

On Monday, Asiana announced its intention to sue KTVU for “using racially charged epithets” that “disparaged Asiana, its employees and all Asians.” It did not, however, intend to sue the NTSB over its part in the incident.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the airline released a statement this morning saying it will not pursue the lawsuit against the TV station but will instead “keep all of its resources dedicated to caring for the passengers and family members of Asiana Flight 214 and supporting the investigation into the cause of the accident.”

While the prank pulled on KTVU has amused some, others maintain that the fake names are offensive and make light of a crash in which three people died and nearly 200 people were injured.

Asiana will likely rack up a hefty legal bill of its own, with experts predicting that passengers could be awarded 7-figure payouts if/when they sue the airline.

A female passenger and her 8-year-old son filed a lawsuit against Asiana earlier this week over the crash. It’s believed that they are the first plaintiffs to have taken legal action in response to the crash. Both mother and son were treated at the hospital following the crash. No bones were broken, but the two say they are still suffering from back and neck pain.